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Old January 28, 2012, 09:56 AM   #1
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springfield 1903a3

Talking with a guy from work one day got me curious on what "old time war gun" i had sitting in the gun safe at home. Got it out and got to looking around on net and have decided that i believe its a springfield 1903a3 (which is what is stamped on the reciever). Any ways the stock is broke right behind the reciever where the butt stock makes the transition up to the top. This same guy that i work with brough me a stock for a 1903a3 but after looking at it it dosent look the same. simular but not the same. where the bolt lever is there is a groove on the stock he had but on mine there isnt one. and on the forarm there are indentions where you can put your fingers and mine does not have that. also on the side of this new stock there is sadal indented in it. Would this stock even be period to the time of this a3? and if so should i change it out since the old is broken? I dont want to hurt the value of this gun being its been passed down from grandpa who fought in the korean war. The date on the barrel is 2-44 and there is a bomb looking symbol on fire below it. This is where i got confused as i have an m1 carbine that is made by underwood with that same symbol. If any one knows anything about these 1903a3's i would love to know more about it. I will say it does fire 30-06 rounds and i have shot it twice. i probably shouldnt have with a broken stock but it does fire. thanks for the help
"Life's hard. It's even harder when you're stupid." ¯ John Wayne

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Old January 28, 2012, 10:18 AM   #2
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Hello JD 3020

What it sounds like is that your friend has brought you a stock for a 1903 Springfield, there were some diferences between the 1903 And 1903 A3,
The Floor Plate is different, and maynot interchange between stocks, But the Barreled Action would fit the stock.
The Guys on the Curio and Relic Forum, would have alot of fun with this especially if you could provide pictures.
Good luck, and I hope your GrandMother says Yes about the Carbine
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Old January 28, 2012, 11:37 AM   #3
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JD- there are several stocks for 1903 and 1903A3 rifles

Very roughly, there are four main types:

"straight" stock (sounds like the type you have)
"Finger groove" stock (such as your friend showed you)
"C" stock (has a pistol grip, was used on sniper models [1903A4] as well)
"Scant" stock- attempt to make a 'C' type stock from 'straight' stock blanks, has a slight pistol grip

Changing the stock may- or may not- harm value. What you need to consider is whether or not the stock you wish to use is USGI issue, or a commercial replacement, and whether or not the stock is appropriate for a 1903A3 or not.

The symbol that is confusing you, that you see on the Underwood carbine and the 1903A3 is the "flaming bomb" Ordnance symbol. It is not a maker's mark, it is a US Ordnance stamp. It is an extremely common marking on US martial arms of the era you are involved with on these rifles. In broad general terms it means the object had been accepted or approved for use in the military by the Ordnance Department. Other marks are preset that mean roughly the same thing on various rifles, etc.

For your stock, I don't know how to determine what the first and original stock type was on the rifle. Most likely it was a straight type or scant type. Perhaps somebody knows s/n ranges that had one type or the other but I do not.

One thing that can help determine authenticity or originality are the 'cartouches' that are on the stock. These are stampings applied by the US military to indicate that the rifle had been inspected and accepted. Look closely at the stock you have, and see if you can spot any initials stamped (not carved!) into the stock, perhaps surrounded by a stamped rectangle, and also look out for a 'cossed cannons' cartouche, which will seem to be a symbol like a capital O with an X over it, with the legs of the X extending past the edges of the O.

Here is an example of those types of cartouches on an M1 rifle stock. 1903A3 ones are similar (not my rifle, but I wish it was)

Also, there were 'rebuild' cartouches, denoting where a rifle had been rebuilt by the military. Usually, the original cartouches were sanded off before the rebuild one were made. On my M1 carbine, an example is the 'AA' stamp shown here:

There are several places to get 1903A3 stocks. This ad claims that they have unissued C stocks. This will mean they bear no cartouches:

Likewise here are straight stocks from the same folks:

lastly scant stocks, same people:

These folks used to have great 1903 and 1903A3 stocks but they are all gone. However, they have misc. parts, and I feel they are good

The 1903A3 is the first rifle I ever fired - at age nine. My Dad still owns it, and it's a great rifle.

Last edited by Chris_B; January 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM.
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Old January 29, 2012, 09:18 AM   #4
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Here are the common mil issue stocks.

There are replacement stocks similar to military and custom stocks.

A photo of the roll mark on the knox form would tell us exactly what you have and then the correct stock could be determined. Need the name of the manufacturer(Springfield, Rock Island, Remington, Smith Corona) and serial number.

Last edited by madcratebuilder; January 30, 2012 at 10:27 AM.
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1903 a3 , 30-06 , military

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